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Wednesday's papers: Turkish demands, bedrock bunkers, and hockey hotbed

Finland's press examines what Turkey is seeking by threatening to block Finland and Sweden's Nato bid.

Is Tampere the true capital of Finland's hockey culture? Image: Miikka Varila / Yle

The Finnish Parliament approved the country's Nato application on Tuesday, but Finland is not yet a Nato member.

The parliaments of all 30 Nato member states still need to ratify Finland's application, and the applications of Finland and Sweden may become the subject of some political horse trading.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that his country may oppose Nato membership for Finland and Sweden. Aamulehti (siirryt toiseen palveluun) cited a Bloomberg (siirryt toiseen palveluun) article that interviewed three high-level Turkish officials about Turkey's demands from Nato in order to admit the two Nordic nations.

Aamulehti wrote that among the demands of the Turkish government is to be re-inducted into the F-35 fighter programme. Turkey was excluded from the program in 2019 because it decided to purchase an S-400 missile defence system from Russia despite warnings from the United States.

In addition to the F-35 programme, Turkey also wants to buy F-16 fighter jets from the US. The US has placed sanctions on aircraft sales due to Turkey's purchase of the Russian missile system, which the US claimed could jeopardise Nato information security of its airborne armament.

The primary demand of the Turkish administration is that Finland and Sweden declare the PKK, the Kurdish Workers' Party, and its related organisations, to be a terrorist group. The EU and all other Nato member states have declared the PKK a terrorist group. Despite this, the United States has provided armed support to PKK's sister organisation in Syria, the YPG, in the fight against Isis.

Aamulehti also wrote that according to the Turkish officials, the country seeks to lift economic sanctions imposed on it as a result of the war in Syria. Turkey invaded northern Syria in 2019 with the goal of controlling its border region and driving the Kurdish population near its borders further away.

CNN takes look at Helsinki's bunkers

Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) carried another article with an international focus on Finland, in this case US network CNN's astonishment at Helsinki's bunker system. In the CNN video (siirryt toiseen palveluun), reporter Nic Robertson toured some of the capital's bunkers, explaining along the way that this type of protection is necessary because of the threat posed by Russia.

In the video, Robertson asks Tomi Rask of the Helsinki Rescue Department how fast the bomb shelters can be ready in a time of crisis.

"Within 72 hours," Rask responded.

Helsinki's shelters, dug 20 metres underground in the bedrock below the city, can accommodate 900,000 people— enough for the entire population plus visitors.

Of particular amusement to CNN was the multi-purpose aspect of the city's bomb shelters wrote HS, as they can be used as parking garages, children's playgrounds, and swimming halls, all designed to withstand bombings and radiation. Even though children might use them as floorball space during peacetime, in a time of crisis these spaces would be rapidly converted.

It is not the first time that international media has been fascinated with Helsinki's civil protection system and Finland's preparedness for war. Last month, The Guardian visited (siirryt toiseen palveluun) the same bomb shelters.

Robertson's amusement showed throughout the video.

"Incredibly fascinating..intriguing!" Robertson remarked to end the clip.

The home of hockey?

Niclas Lönnqvist, a columnist from Swedish-language paper Hufvudsbladet (siirryt toiseen palveluun) penned an ode to Tampere's ice hockey culture. Lönnqvist referred to the fact that Tampere's two dominant clubs, Ilves and Tappara, were quite successful when he was a teenager in Helsinki, often "rubbing salt in the wounds" of the capital's teams HIFK and Jokerit.

Lönnqvist wrote this love letter to Tampere's hockey culture, saying that Tappara players from the ‘80s used to refuel on a diet of "famous black blood sausage and lingonberry jam."

Even though the column offers a healthy dose of nostalgia, Lönnqvist looked to the present, stating that Tappara walked away with the Kanada Malja this season, coming in first place and Ilves took third place in Finland's domestic league.

Referencing the ongoing World Ice Hockey Championships and the brand-new Nokia Arena, he said that Tampere has hockey coursing through its veins. Business owners, restaurateurs, tram drivers, schools, the hockey museum all live and breathe hockey in Tampere. In Helsinki, Lönnqvist jibed that the situation is quite different.

He remarked that Helsinki only boasts an outdated ice rink from the ‘60s and a scathing reminder of Jokerit's escapades in the KHL in the form of an arena he dubbed the "Putin Colosseum."

Lönnqvist ended his appraisal for Tampere's hockey culture by saying that Helsinki could benefit from emulating Tampere.